1991, 1452 x 1180mm, Oil on canvas on board
Born in the village of Poutasi, Fatu Feuʻu was educated at Sāmoa College, Apia. Although not taught art at school, he began using paint at an early age. Using enamel on tapa cloth or fine mats, he would paint pictorial scenes for the tourist market. At the age of twenty, he travelled to New Zealand with the intention of becoming an artist. He worked in factories to support himself and his family, attending art classes at night. In 1983, while recuperating from an accident, he was able to paint full-time. With the support and encouragement of Tony Fomison, Feuʻu began to formulate an approach to painting based on an engagement with Sāmoan culture.
This first came to fruition in a series of lithographs produced at the then newly-formed Muka Studios. He has since continued to interpret traditional Sāmoan stories and myths surrounding the origins of Polynesian culture. The Sāmoan arts of siapo (tapa cloth), tatau (tattooing), carving, and Lapita pottery provide him with a lexicon of motifs and compositional structures, enabling him to produce an authentic yet contemporary Moana (Pacific) art. In 1989, a grant from the Māori and South Pacific Arts Council enabled Feuʻu to return to Sāmoa to study with traditional Sāmoan artists.